Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's Called CATCHING

It’s called “CATCHING”

Sitting on the ice gives me an opportunity to look back on my life. I know, it’s a scary thought. First of all, I’ve got a moment to think and worse …..I’m actually THINKING!!!! My college professors would be proud!

While on the ice contemplating life, my first thought was ……damn, what happened to this year. 2009…GONE!!! That thought led into - When did I get so old?
What happened to my youth? Wow, I’ve got four kids!
I’ve been married almost 20 years!!!!
My daughter started HIGH SCHOOL!!!!

I jigged pondering those complex thoughts. I also had time to brood over less important things. For Instance….

Why do you park in a driveway?
Why do we drive on Parkways?

While enjoying the Wisconsin winter chill, I contemplated one of the truly puzzling things in our English language………….why is it called FISHING?

Seriously, they don’t call “sales” something like “shopping ”. We fishermen should lobby to change our chosen past-time to something more indicative and respectful. Instead of “fishing” we should all go “catching”!!

As you’ve noticed, spending too much time on the ice watching your rod tip for a slight bounce or staring at the bright, white ice background waiting to see an orange flag has rendered me a little goofy.

This New Year’s Eve my wife gave us a challenge. She gathered us all in the living room and told us at the stroke of mid-night to have three goals for the coming New Year! Awesome! I love goals. I’m a goal-oriented, highly motivated kind-a-guy. Goals are what I need to succeed in 2010! Due to my time on the ice lately …..pondering, thinking, considering, day-dreaming, brooding, and contemplating about all things one can think of while trying to catch stinking pan fish and Northern coming up with goals was no problem.

1. Spend more time with the Family.
2. Spend more time Fishing….(I mean Catching)
3. Spend more time volunteering at Church and helping my Community.

These are simple goals nothing fancy.

At the end of January, I’m doing well on 1 and 2. Goal number 3 is a challenge but I’m doing much better. It’s the scout in me, I’m trying to be more of a good example in the community.

I’ve been on the ice almost every day possible. During my time off over the holidays and weekends, we’ve spent a lot of family time together (especially the Tribe) and I’m realizing how important family time is. Primarily we are fishing our local lake and the boys and I have been focusing a lot of energy on tip-up fishing for Northern! To say the least, we’ve done very well. Everyday, we got lots of snakes and at least one or two good Northern (a good on is any thing over 25 inches). We’ve even caught a couple Walleye!!

There is something very satisfying about rigging a tip up the right way, at the right depth, with the right bait and catching a fish. We’ve done a lot of trial and error on our lake. We tend to set up a couple of tip-ups with a good method and then we search for new ways to catch more and bigger fish. Through the years, we’ve got a pretty good system worked out. The key to us catching fish is in the leaders. You need to have an invisible leader. I prefer to attach a large weight to the tip-up line and a swivel snap. This allows for easy leader changes on the ice. If your leader get twisted or kinked you should replace it.

The next step is the key and requires some at home customization and preparation. In order to stay “invisible” we use an invisa-leader. These are light seven strand leaders in low pound test. I like a lighter leader…..usually below 20 pounds. The invisa-leader has a snap attached at the end. With a little persuasion this snap comes off, giving you access to the wire leader. I like to add a couple of red or brightly colored beads and a small, silver blade to the wire. Just like a spinner bait.. This color and flash combination, along with a lively shiner drives the Pike crazy! We set our shiners about a foot above the tallest weed and……….

“TIP-UP”………….and that’s called “catching”